Israel-Hamas War: New Israeli Bombings in Rafah; fears of a land operation are growing

On Saturday, February 10, witnesses reported new Israeli bombardments in the Rafah sector, in the south of the Gaza Strip

Israel-Hamas War: New Israeli Bombings in Rafah; fears of a land operation are growing

On Saturday, February 10, witnesses reported new Israeli bombardments in the Rafah sector, in the south of the Gaza Strip. After the city of Gaza then that of Khan Younes, Israel is now considering a ground operation in this city backed by the closed border with Egypt.

On Saturday, Hamas warned that an Israeli offensive in Rafah could cause “tens of thousands of deaths and injuries.” According to the United Nations (UN), more than 1.3 million Palestinians (five times the original population) are gathered in the area, the vast majority civilians having fled the war. The latter are now massed, in desperate humanitarian conditions, in this city transformed into a gigantic encampment.

The Palestinian Islamist movement added that it held “the American administration, the international community and the Israeli occupation” responsible for possible repercussions. According to the Hamas health ministry, 25 people have died in strikes in Rafah since Friday – 110 in the Gaza Strip in total.

After ordering the army on Wednesday to prepare an offensive in Rafah, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked it on Friday to submit a "combined plan" for the "evacuation" of civilians and the "destruction" of Hamas in this city.

“It is impossible to achieve the objective of the war without eliminating Hamas and leaving four Hamas battalions in Rafah,” and this requires that “civilians evacuate the combat zones,” Netanyahu said.

An “excessive response”, according to Joe Biden

The UN and even the United States, Israel's main ally, are concerned about the fate of civilians. “Carrying out such an operation now [in Rafah] without planning and thought in an area housing a million people would be a disaster,” the US State Department warned this week. American President Joe Biden seriously raised the tone towards Israel on Thursday, deeming the “response in the Gaza Strip” to the October 7 attack “excessive”.

New talks between representatives of Qatar and Egypt, two of the mediating countries alongside the United States, and Hamas to try to reach a truce agreement including an exchange of Palestinian prisoners and hostages have ended Friday in Cairo.

During the October 7 attack, approximately 250 people were kidnapped in Israel and taken to Gaza. A week-long truce in November resulted in the release of 105 hostages and 240 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. According to Israel, 132 hostages are still being held in Gaza, 29 of whom are believed to have died.